Are you looking for ways to create more joy in your life? Perhaps you feel burnt out, powerless, or constantly find yourself frustrated by seemingly insignificant things? If this resonates with you, here are a few simple things that will help you discover how to experience joy.
1. Stop tolerating what diminishes your joy.
Toleration – let’s unpack the word. To tolerate something means to endure or to go along with something you are in opposition with.
Truly, there is no fun in that.
In fact, toleration can be downright damaging. It is often a way to undermine our true self and ignore our inner voice.
We feel powerless and stuck – telling ourselves there’s not much we can do to change our situation. Instead, know that YOU have the power to experience more joy.
What are you tolerating in your life?
In other words, what thing, behavior, or belief do you continue to tolerate even though it makes you feel small, anxious, or angry?
I recommend a scanning exercise to raise your awareness of what you are tolerating. Quiet external influences and tune in to yourself so that your inner voice is louder than any around you.
What is holding you back?
Once you understand why you are preventing yourself from reaching your full potential, you can start creating new behaviors that lead to joy.
Start with the easiest. Often our house is a good place to practice uncovering what we are tolerating.
Pay attention to how you feel in every room.
If you don’t like the color of a wall, paint it. Perhaps you’ve been meaning to declutter, downsize, or donate.
Some situations are simple (like moving a nail on the wall) and some are much more complicated and take more time. Whatever it may be, embrace it. These are steps you can take to relate more positively to your surroundings, and in turn, to yourself.
For about a decade, there was a piece of art in my kitchen that was not hung on the wall to my liking. This meant that every time I glanced at it, instead of appreciating what I loved, I would fixate on what I wanted to change.
A one-inch adjustment was all it needed! But instead of taking the time to move the nail from which it hung, I shrugged if off. And the longer I tolerated it, the more frustrated I felt.
What a waste of energy.
A few days ago, I was hanging a new kitchen clock on a different wall. I thought, “Hmm, why not move the chair across the room and reposition the canvas that has been aggravating me for so long?”
It took about a minute to lower the nail and center the painting to my liking. That’s all it took – 60 seconds — to completely shift my emotions from negative to positive. Instead of listening to the voices putting me down and minimizing my feelings, I decided to make a change. Now every time I see the painting it brings a smile to my face.
Did this silly story spark a thought for you? Take the time to reflect and try to identify the things that no longer serve you.
Oftentimes, our tolerations have become such a habit over the years, we are no longer even aware of them. If you wish to explore this further, I invite you to schedule your very own FREE “Discovery Call” with me. I would love the opportunity to connect with you.
2. Tell yourself a new story.
When we reframe old stories we have told ourselves for years, we are paving a path to joy.
You have the power to chose your own beliefs.
Some of us have clung to toxic thoughts and even lies for most of our lives. Once you are able to let these go and release what no longer serves you, you will begin to experience more joy.
I used to tell myself, “I’m not worthy of happiness because I am too ____.”
- I am TOO sensitive
- I am TOO loud
- I take up TOO much space
I began to believe this was true. Because of my warped self-esteem, I was unable to love myself. This meant I needed others to do so for me. I was so desperate for external validation and approval from others that their needs became more important than my own.
Instead of setting healthy boundaries, I was feeding my own insecurities and devaluing myself.
You deserve to be happy. You deserve love.
Recognizing your own self-worth is important to creating lasting change, and it starts with the stories we tell ourselves.
Don’t underestimate the power of — “I AM.”
Using “I AM” statements anchors all of your hard work and ensure a new belief and mindset.
“I AM” statements are positive affirming. They are an opportunity to celebrate a powerful shift within yourself. You are telling your subconscious things that are a higher sense of who you are.
- I am strong
- I am worthy of love
- I am courageous
- I am experiencing outrageous abundance
And when telling yourself these affirmations, use your smile. I promise, it’s very difficult to feel miserable and be smiling at the same time.
Over the last several decades, I have made a conscious effort to tell myself a new story: I am worthy of joy. I deserve to be happy. I am enough, just the way I am.
What stories are you telling yourself that do not contribute to your self-worth or happiness?
3. Your greatest attitude is GRATITUDE!
Gratitude helps us appreciate the people and things we do have in our lives as opposed to focusing on what we don’t.
Take a moment, close your eyes, and reflect on all the things in your life you are grateful for. It is scientifically proven that you will feel a little more joy when you open your eyes.
Don’t miss even the smallest instance during your day that causes you to feel joy. Pause, acknowledge it, and be as present as possible.
How does your body feel?
Where do you physically notice any different sensations associated with your joy?
Perhaps you feel a bit of warmth bubble up in your belly or chest?
Maybe you realize that you are instinctively smiling?
Could your head feel a bit lighter?
By taking this time to stop and truly appreciate these moments in our lives, we are actually strengthening the effects in our brains.
There’s no need to wait until Thanksgiving!
In fact, there are countless studies that show just how impactful simple gratitude exercises can be on our ability to experience joy.
For instance, the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California Berkeley recruited participants who were already seeking mental health counseling. The only request was to write one letter per week, where they were encouraged to express gratitude towards something or someone in their lives.
It was determined that, “practicing gratitude on top of receiving psychological counseling carries greater benefits than counseling alone, even when that gratitude practice is brief.” Most participants never even sent the letter. The simple act of focusing on what they were grateful for made all the difference.
Even three months after the study had finished, participants experienced higher levels of joy across the board. Brain scans reflected continued changes to their neurological activity and participants expressed higher levels of generosity and overall well-being.
Give this a try!
1. I personally keep a daily list of things I am grateful for. Even after a very long, hard day I take just a few minutes to write down at least 3 things I am grateful for.
Almost immediately I begin to feel joy and am in a more positive mindset before going to sleep.
Create a daily list for yourself and after just 2 weeks you might surprise yourself with how noticeable the change is! Be patient and remember that the benefits of gratitude might take time to kick in, but they will be long-lasting and absolutely worth it!
If we’re appreciative of our environment we can start appreciating ourselves, and others.
2. Replace the words “should” or “I have to” with “I want” or “I get to.”
The language we choose to use is incredibly powerful. After consciously making a change to your language, you will be amazed at how differently you begin to feel.
For example: Instead of telling yourself, “I should exercise,” try saying “I want to exercise” or “I get to move my body today.”
Feelings of guilt, obligation, shame, stress, or even anger are immediately replaced with…
I hope you are as proud of yourself as I am for acknowledging your desire to experience more joy in your life.
Just by reading this article, you are taking the steps to make this happen for yourself. Be kind to yourself and don’t try to bite off more than you can chew.
It takes time to make long-lasting changes. None of us are perfect, but consistency is key. As long as you stick with it, I promise you will begin to feel yourself experiencing more joy.
1. Look for ways to claim your joy every chance you can.
2. Believe that you are worthy of happiness.
3. Your greatest attitude is gratitude!
Did reading this article take you on a journey of introspection? If so, that was the intention! Consider checking out my article on worrying.
Additionally, complete this Self-Care-Assessment to facilitate further self-discovery.
Do you still believe there is something in your life preventing you from reaching your full potential? If so, I invite you to schedule a complimentary “Discovery Call” with me here.